Friday, October 21, 2011

Five Year Anniversary Special: Top 10 AAK! Posts

Dear readers,

Today, Ask a Korean! is five years old.

The Korean really could have never envisioned how far this blog would go. It was meant to be a hobby to kill the ample leftover time as a law student. AAK!'s visitor count hovered at two digits per day for a long time. A question would come maybe twice a week.

Now, AAK! receives thousands of visitors every day -- around 2,500 to 3,000 unique visits and 4,500 to 6,000 pageviews, to be exact. The total visitor count for the last five years is over 1.7 million, and increasing every day. The questions hit the Korean's inbox every two to three hours. Through the blog, the Korean came to meet incredible people with incredible stories. Each time there is a major news coming out of Korea, the visitor count spikes up -- which means people think of what this humble blog has to say when there is something important about Korea. That is such a great form of compliment that the Korean is just at a loss for words. Thank you everyone, for visiting and reading.

For the fifth anniversary, the Korean wants you, the readers, to indulge him a little bit. Please tell the Korean in the comment section about how you found AAK!, how long you have been reading it, and why you keep coming back if you do.

Now, without much further ado, here is the list of top 10 posts in AAK! history, based on the number of pageviews:
  1. Korean men.
  2. "Oppa"
  3. How to tell who is Korean.
  4. Why StarCraft is popular in Korea.
  5. "Fan Death"
  6. Dog meat.
  7. How the Korean learned English.
  8. Gays in Korea.
  9. Korea's racism against African Americans.
  10. Plastic surgery in Korea.
This list probably represents the broader interest in Korea from the English-speaking crowd. Now, here is the list of top 10 posts in AAK! history that you, the readers, selected:
  1. How the Korean learned English
  2. "Fan Death"
  3. Gyopo identity
  4. Letter to Non-Asians
  5. Dog meat
  6. How to tell who is Korean.
  7. Particles in Korean grammar
  8. Why you shouldn't use first names in Korea.
  9. Language split personality
  10. Dollimja
There you have it. This list means a lot more to the Korean, because they are the posts that the real live readers cared to vote on. Again, thank you so much, for everything.

Here's to another great five years!

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. It was about 3 years ago that I was searching for something about Korean culture and came across this blog. I quickly forgot what I was searching for reading through your posts. One by one. Reverse chronological order. So many things about Korean culture suddenly made sense.

    Why do I keep coming back? Your humorous, direct, don't care what people think answers. The candidness is refreshing.

  2. Congrats on your five year anniversary.

    I like reading posts written from a different view from mine. Since I am a Korean living in Korea, I read lots of blogs by people with different backgrounds on issues I find interesting.

    I first landed on this blog through Roboseyo, another blog I like to read.

    Because I don't enjoy debating, I am usually a quiet reader, leaving not much comments. However, this will be an exception. I just had to congratulate you and thank you for this splendid blog.

  3. I don't remember exactly which post I first read on your blog. Back in March, however, I started looking into English-teaching jobs in Korea, and I decided to start learning whatever I could about the country. I stumbled across your blog while I was doing that research, and some days I would read it for hours at a time, because it had so much fascinating information about this country where I now work.

    I think there are many factors that contribute to this blog's appeal:

    1) You have a strong understanding of both American and Korean culture. Because of this, you're able to explain things about Korea in terms many of us westerners can easily understand (i.e. showing analogous situations between Korea and other western countries).

    2) You speak English at a high level, and can clearly communicate anything you want to say. I have several Korean friends who speak English fairly well, but they still have limits to their fluency which prevent them from expressing their ideas to me fully. Your recent post about Korea's four seasons in an example of how someone like you can clarify things for us confused outsiders.

    3) Your blog is frequently entertaining, funny and insightful.

    I keep coming back because I enjoy learning as much as I can about Korea, and you're a terrific gap-bridger. Even though I've disagreed with your opinions many times, strangely enough, I get the sense that we're more alike than we are different. I wish you the best of luck both personally and with this blog, and I plan to continue reading as long as it's here.

  4. Time: about a year and a half
    How: links at both "The Grand Narrative" and "Roboseyo"
    Why come back: intelligent topics and discussion

  5. I don't remember how long I've been reading. But I've lived in Korea since 2007, and over and over, a post here will help me understand something, or crystallize my own scattered understanding. (The series on Confucianism was really helpful.)

    The Korean can communicate (both linguistically and culturally) in English and Korean at a very high level, which is I think why I learn so much here, and enjoy it so much.

    Keep up the great work!

  6. It's been a year since I found your blog.Why I love this blog?It's because The Korean has a sense of humor.Answering trivial questions like the question about 오빠 and your reader's comments has amused me.

  7. About two years ago, I was desperately trolling the net for clarification of 은/는 vs. 이/가. (I'm still a bit confused, but these days I just throw out whichever one I feel like using and wait to be corrected.) Because I didn't actually want to be studying grammar, I spent a while reading your other posts and got drawn in.

    Ask a Korean: Come for the info, stay for the fun!

    Thanks for keeping such an excellent blog.

  8. I found this blog thru a post on Tumblr about Korean K-pop fans, and it had a link to the original source, your blog.
    I think it passed about 2 months since then and I found on this blog answers to some questions about Korea that I couldn't find anywhere else.. That's why I keep coming back ^_^
    Happy Anniversary!!! ^0^

  9. Congratulations!!!
    It's been 3 months for me, i'm a newbee hear i guess. I found you while i was searching stuff about Korea as usual and thanfully i got across with this wonderful blog.

    You do a great job, i see your wise answers and enteries full of good information with your humorous style.

    I check your blog once a day from my googlereader, the easiest way to see all new entries, i get excited by seeing your updates.

    We learn with/from Korean, laugh sometimes, get important information and so on!
    Go ahead with your work and keep posting! Thank you!

  10. I've been reading for a couple of months. I found you by googling "how to tell the difference in Asian faces"

    I keep coming back because I'm fascinated by all things Korean. You're posts are funny and intelligent.

    Congrats on 5 years!!

  11. 1. I found it on Google while searching for some information about Korea.

    2. I first came across it in the spring of 2010.

    3. a. I appreciate the intelligent conversation and some background reference. For example, one of my favorite parts was learning about what Aristotle said about speaking with ethos, logos and pathos. I also liked the anthropological references when you wrote about eating dog meat.
    b. I enjoy discovering new things about Korean culture that are impossible to learn from any other source. It is also beneficial to hear about Korea from the actual Korean, not from an expat living in Korea. This is how I found out about the comfort women, the Mongolian spank marks and Jesa table - I saw that in dramas and I was always curious.

    Kamsahamnida for your time and effort - you must be really dedicated to what you do for others. Good luck in the future!

  12. I came across this blog in early 2011 and I think I was searching something about Amy Chua's Tiger Mom book after I read the book. Anyways, the answers to questions are well written and thought out. Most blogs out there are ramblings of someone's mental vomit. TK has certain opinions definitely, but he tries to answer things w/ logic and supporting facts (the lawyer in him?). It's a no bullshit type of intelligent blog w/ enough smart humor to keep it interesting. Plus it's basically edited - meaning no grammatical or spelling errors!

    A little too much on Korean music for my taste, but that's only b/c I don't listen to it. But the blog gets me caught up on the videos - so thanks for that.

    Bravo TK for keeping it up for 5 years!

  13. Dear Korean.
    Congratulations to five years in the blogosphere.
    20100208 was the first time I sent a question to you about a translation of a song with Im jae Bum.
    I must have found your Blog while researching about something in connection with South Korea and Im Jae Bum and other Korean actors, singers and artists.
    I honestly have become very angry with you a few times and deleted the bookmark but after a while the thought came "I wonder what he is up to now?" and so I came back. I have found your blog useful in learning more about Korea; the country, the people and the language.I also like the list, 50 Most Influential K-Pop Artists but I think it has been too long since you pointed out the next candidate. I'm curious about who the next one is.

    Good luck with the next five years.

  14. Hi, I found you last week by Googling for a Korean particles list. I enjoy your commonsensical, passionate and articulate writing. Thanks for making the interwebs a better place. :)

  15. Hi, The Korean.

    Happy 5th anniversary to Ask a Korean!

    How i found AAK! is when i tried to browse about Korean men which leads to AAK top 1 post.
    There i found AAK! It was around 2 years ago.

    I keep coming back because i like the way you write an article:
    humorous, straight forward, interesting articles, etc.

    Beside that, i really really like to read AAK! when you write about culture, society, history of Korea, etc.

  16. Congrats on your five year anniversary, man! That's a HUGE achievement--most blogs last only a few months. Congratulations too on growing your following. Awesome news.

  17. I found this blog about a year ago when I was trying to learn how to read in Hangul, and I came across a post you'd done on Hangul (can't remember the title right now). I checked out your other posts and found them to be very amusing so I decided to become a follower of the blog. I still read it because the posts are still amusing.

    Also, it's very interesting to hear about Korea. I'm from Sweden so my knowledge on eastern Asian countries is pretty limited. Other than K-pop, I really have no idea about Korean norms, culture, etc. It's interesting to learn about it, even though I don't plan on moving to the country or working there.

  18. I am a Korean studies student and that's the reason I am interested in Korea. I don't remember how I found your blog but I like it. And most of the times I agree with you and I share your opinion, I am interested in Korea but I hate Korean dramas and K-pop and I also think eating dogs is ok. :) I like your intelligent approach, I like your way of thinking and I even like the fact that you do not bother not to be too nice when you don't feel like being too nice.
    And of course, there are many things I learn here.

  19. I first found this site through a google search when I became interested in all things Korean at the beginning of 2011.

    I keep coming because the posts are really interesting (and informative), I tend to agree with The Korean's perspective and The Korean answered the one question I sent in very promptly!

    Congratulations on 5 years :)

  20. I do not remember what I was searching for when I came across your blog, I just remember that I side tabbed a lot of the articles and read through them, some I read twice because I forgot I'd already tabbed them. I'm a follower because everything on the blog is written well and discussed thoroughly.

  21. Happy Birthday to AAK! I know there are many people like myself who love this blog and have learned so much from it.

    I don't remember exactly how I found your blog, I must've been googling something Korea-related and came across one of your posts. Right after I read that one, I started clicking links to many of your posts... I remember I found the one on Fan Death particularly amusing! (I thought it was in reference to Kpop fans before I read it, haha). I believe that was over a year ago, probably close to one and a half or teo years now!

    I come back for many reasons. One, I like learning about Korea and I learn soooooo much from this blog. I am a big kpop fan, but I also really care about Korean traditional culture, history, and language. It's nice to have a place that deals with more serious topics. Two, I love your style. You're funny but you stick to your guns and defend your views. Some say you're biased but I feel you go to extreme lengths to present information to us in a straightforward and logical manner. I actually had the impression that the Korean is a little scary, but when I read the live chats (I always miss them), I find that the Korean is kind and positive. Three, I appreciate that you do your best to answer all the questions you get, even the stupid ones. And four, I really enjoy hearing the Korean's opinions on things like Tiger parenting, education, suicide, etc.

    I am very much looking forward to your series on adoption! =)

  22. It's been over two years since I discovered AAK, and I can't really remember how I found it. But I do recall, after reading the first article, spending literally the next five or six hours reading the archived entries.

    The reason I keep coming back is because this place is a one-stop shop for all Korea related topics. It's fun clicking on this site and having no idea what the discussion is going to be. Plus, I can always expect a fresh perspective.

    I also appreciate that the comment section is moderated and that there are some really interesting conversations taking place here. I've learned a great deal from them as well.

  23. I found AAK while looking for good blogs about South Korea a bit more than 2 years ago. Now I only follow this one and The Grand Narrative. Despite a few articles in which The Korean lets his anger or elitism go wild, I usually enjoy reading this blog for the informative articles, gracefully written with humour, intelligence and sensibility. Bravo!

  24. I came to know about this blog through one of the posts of the Confucianism series whose linked was shared on a friend's blog. I kept coming back to learn more about this topic and got totally hooked on AK!! That was about 8 months ago, I believe.

    I must say that I have a personal interest in South Korea because a good friend of mine has been living there for a few years. But more generally, I am interested in all matters cultural, languages and the way they affect our world view.

  25. Ahem, yes. 'whose LINK was shared ...', of course.

  26. I was also doing a search on Google about Korean culture in late 2009/early 2010. I think it was Korean festival and funeral traditions because I was confused at what I was watching in a Korean drama, so I was trying to look it up. I came across your site and have been coming to visit 3-4 times a week since then. I keep coming back because your articles are well-written and extremely insightful. Your dual perspectives are unique and interesting reads. From your blog I have found other ones and am an avid reader of those as well. Please continue your blog for another five years.

  27. We love you! Keep up the good work. :)

  28. I have been reading your blog since April or May of this year. I found you from Kimchi Mamas. Two of my daughters are huge KPOP/drama fans and as a matter of survival I have become an admirer of Korean culture. I like your blog because it is like a bridge between Korean and American thought. Your posts are thoughtful and well reasoned. I don't always agree with what you write about but I do find myself understanding your point of view. I also really like how well researched your posts are and all the links to your sources. Opinion is one thing but opinion and facts are much more interesting and valuable. Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into your blog. Congratulations on five years blogging!

  29. 1. I found AAK via a reference of link on one of the ex-pat blogs, probably Roboseyo or Gusts of Popular Feeling.

    2. Been reading it for about 2.5 years.

    3. I keep reading AAK mainly for the Korean culture posts.


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